WriteTogether Reflection: Week Seven

This week, the prompts were about worries and anxieties of childhood, what we wished we had known, and what we hope for ourselves now. This was a little tricky for me at first, because my inclination is to bright side things. I realized this is a protective measure I take to keep me from going too far down the rabbit hole, and I needed to take a deeper look. I had to practice grounding myself a few times, as I looked back at the messages I received in childhood it was tough at first to allow myself to really sit with it all and notice things and the way they impacted me. When I say it was uncomfortable, that is a really kind way of putting it. And yet, there was something really liberating about naming the things that I now know and feel were damaging and unhealthy.

When I got to day four, the prompt was about what I want else I want to share and what I hope for myself now. I had to come back to that prompt a couple of times before I could get it out. I am going to share some of what I wrote this past week with you all, with only a smidge of editing (like, taking out the words that may be considered curse words). I know that some of it may be tough to digest, and there may be some strong reactions to it. I wanted to share with you because when I create and facilitate these writing journeys I commit to sharing some of the learnings and realizations I have with you too.

“I wish I had known the expectations, and the ways things were done in the household of my origins were abnormal and unhealthy, and that I didn’t have to pretend to be okay. I wish I had known that Love didn’t come with so many obligations and pressures, that Love is a gift unearnable. I wish I had known that I was worthy of Love and protection without having to be good enough or meet some unattainable standard of excellence. I wish I had known that I didn’t need to feel guilty or ashamed because I couldn’t reach someone else’s measure of success for me as a child or as an adult woman.

I wish I had known that feelings have a holy purpose, and had some kind of understanding of how to process and navigate through them. I wish I had known that worry isn’t actually a sign of a lack of faith, or that faith does not require disconnection from questioning or critical thinking. I wish I had known that mental illness was real, not a moral failure, and is treatable. I wish I had known what a cult was, and what the impact of being raised on the fringes would be. I wish I had known that religion won’t save me, or anyone else.

I wish I had known silence was complicity, and that being persuaded to remain silent is abuse. I wish I had known that body isn’t a bad word, and that knowing my own body isn’t a sin, that sex is for so much more than procreation, and that I did not owe anyone access to my body. I wish I had known that I was accountable to myself, and not only to an external force. I wish I had known that my existence as a woman was not a curse, a moral failure, or reason to be subject to men.

I wish I had known that women can have jobs that aren’t related to the care of a home and a family, and still be worthy and holy. I wish I had known that children should not be expected to pay their parents rent to live inside the home. That it is not a child’s job to care for their parents, to make sure their parents have a job or cover for them at their job. I wish I had known that it isn’t a child’s job to parent and raise their younger siblings.

I wish I had known I was not sinful and deserving of damnation for using my own brain to think, and for not waiting for a man to tell me what I could do or who I am. I wish I had known I could want, and want for myself, and that wanting wouldn’t sign my ticket to hell.

I wish I had known that I would have the strength to walk away from the way I was brought up, and from the strings and costs the family of my origins attached to belonging in their version of family.

I wish I had understood that the influences of the way I was brought up by the family of my origins were so deeply embedded in my survival, that I would still fight the remnants of them.

The thing I hope for myself now, on this side, is that I never forget the things I wish I had known. I hope that I never stop disentangling myself from all of those lies and falsehoods. I hope that as I am able to tell my story more fully, and that will give hope and strength to someone else. I hope that I can pass on healing. And most of all, I hope that I pass on Love. Love without strings, boundaries without blame, and accountability without shame.”

What a different world we would live in…

Back next week friends.